November 23, 1963

Denial.         Anger.

Our grief stalled as the news dribbled out of the radio and television.

Where were you when…?

The question didn’t need concluding words. We all knew the rest of the sentence. For the first time, our generation, those born after WWII, had one of those sharp, corporate tragedies to process and remember.

Confusion and fear joined our grief. The President killed. A Governor wounded. A policeman dead. One man arrested.

Did they get the right one? Did they get them all?

Each news cast seemed to add another piece to the puzzle. Funeral arrangements. Times and places the body would lie in state. Dignitaries that would attend.

Before dismissal from school that Friday the State Superindent of Schools cancelled all public schools for Monday. The television at our house, and many others remained on for hours in a row.

Since that memorable day our generation has experienced other “Where were you…?” moments. Yet this one remains the sharpest for me.

Because it was the first?

Because I was writing an American History test when President Kennedy was killed and made American History?


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